True prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is laying hold of His willingness. That is a very important thing to know. God only answers the requests that He inspires.
One of the most incredible promises Jesus ever gave is found in John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Or, as another version puts it, “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (MSG).
Immediately we tend to think of all the things we can start praying for. But when we do this, we’re missing the point. Notice that Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you. . . .” This means we’re getting our will in alignment with God’s will. It means that our desires start changing. Abiding in Jesus means that we’re spending time in His presence.
I’ve been married for more than 40 years. I know my wife pretty well, and she knows me pretty well. So well, in fact, that we can finish each other’s sentences. We can read each other very easily. That is because we spend a lot of time together. And I never get tired of spending time with her.
When we come into a relationship with God, it means that we like to spend time in His presence. We like to listen to Him. We like to talk to Him. That is what it means to abide in Him. And as we do this, our prayer requests will change because we will have a better understanding of the will of God for us.